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The Henna and Pertti Niemistö Ars Fennica Art Foundation was set up in 1990 to promote the visual arts, to open up new international contacts for the Finnish art world, and to encourage artists in their creative work.

The Ars Fennica art award is made artist in recognition of distinctive artistic output of high merit. The award includes a monetary prize of 40,000 euros, a catalogue of works by the winner and an exhibition. The Ars Fennica is an internationally respected award and the biggest Finnish prize for visual art.